Sonora restaurant in Port Chester has justifiable cause for celebration. This summer marks its twentieth anniversary, a rarity in today’s restaurant scene. Chef/owner Rafael Palomino anchors his Rectory Street restaurant in Latin American cuisine, though for the last few years, he has been incorporating many culinary recipes from other kindred countries, such as Portugal and Peru.
Sonora looks much as it did when it first opened with a rendering of the mystical site of Machu Picchu painted across two dirt-rose colored walls; tables are still napped with white linens, the bar and lounge still entrenched a few steps up from the main dining room.
Palomino’s eponymous dining outpost in Old Greenwich that closed a few years ago attracted locals for his spin on paella, tapas.and even pastas. While the Port Chester kitchen still adheres to that gustatory base remember his black squid-ink fettucini?—a new palette of flavors skews to the vegetarian canon, so you will find a paella composed of farro, pumpkin slices, roasted brussels sprouts, beets, and cauliflower topped with tofu aioli. There’s an empanada unlike any you’ve had before. It’s made of eggplant, quinoa, and goat cheese, with a chocolate balsamic vinegar swirled over it. But all the old favorites are there for your dining pleasure.
Palomino has always been adventuresome in his food and his career. He now boasts restaurants stretching from Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut into Florida. When he’s not at the stove making “meatballs” out of eggplants, he’s writing yet another cookbook or working with disadvantaged kids.
As he continues his happy anniversary celebrations, Palomino wants all of his friends to join him.
Sonora Restaurant is offering a full 20 percent discount on its menu through August. Buen provecho!